Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Taliban Make a Martyr

The Taliban in Afganistan has killed one of their twenty-three South Korean, Christian hostages, a 42-year-old pastor named Bae Hyung-kyu. This man and the others were in Afganistan to do relief work. The other hostages may become martrys as well.

As Bernard Lewis has pointed out, in Christianity, a martyr is one who is killed on account of one's profession of faith and one's refusal to recant under pressure. In Islam (represented by the Taliban) a martyr is typically one who dies in a jihad. The difference reveals a titanic split in the two worldviews.

Pastor Hyung-kyu was in Afghanistan to serve Christ by serving others. What he did, he did in the name of the God of the Bible. For that, he was executed. He joins the legion of martyrs, those who did not love their lives unto death, but who will receive the crown of life from the King of Kings.

Let us pray for those still held hostage by the Taliban terrorists. (I refuse to call them "insurgents.") Pray, too, for the souls of the terrorists. And pray for your own soul if you lack the courage of a martyr, Christianly understood.


Craig Fletcher said...

Do Islamic terrorists understand negotiations, or is the only thing they understand warfare?

If they released Taliban prisoners and give the terrorists what they want, then it would only encourage more kidnappings.

It's a tough situation.

Daniel said...

"In Islam (represented by the Taliban)"

I agree with this and I would throw in there Al Quida, the Muslim Brotherhood, etc etc. Do you think a justification for the Iraq war could be made by seeing the legitimacy of these extremist threats by first noticing the threat that is Islam? (A threat not just to Christianity but the west in general.)

Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D. said...

On the terrorist threat, read Mark Gabriel, Islam and Terrorism.

Ed Darrell said...

I understand that this murder has had a profound effect in South Korea. Prior to the murder, public opinion held that missionaries who venture into places like Afghanistan at such times tend to risk much more than merely themselves,and might be irresponsible.

But now South Koreans are quite united in the understanding that the Taliban are terrorists who unjustly and unwisely use violence against innocent people. Consequently, support for the South Korean efforts against the Taliban is growing, not diminishing as the Taliban had hoped.

Another key characteristic of martyrs is that they have generally taken the higher moral ground, and their unjust death makes their cause stronger. Methods matter, in the long run.

May God bless and keep Bae Hyung-kyu, and watch over his colleagues still held by the terrorists.